As much as we love to grill, cooking fires are an unexpected event that could quickly turn our grilling experience into a disaster. According to a 2014-2018 National Fire Protection Association Report, outdoor grilling fires cause an average of 10,600 home fires annually, and the leading cause of these fires is grease build-up or fat dripping. Therefore, it is essential to know the best way to put out a grease fire on a grill to prevent significant damage to your property and severe burns. In this article, we will provide you with simple steps to show you how to put out a grease fire on a grill. We will also discuss the safety precautions you need to take to prevent a dangerous grease fire from starting in the first place.
1 - Why You Need to Know How to Put Out a Grease Fire on a Grill
The most important thing to remember when dealing with a grease fire is to avoid panicking. Knowing what to do and acting quickly can mean the difference between a minor flare-up and a full-blown fire. With close attention and the proper knowledge, you can put out a grease fire on a grill quickly and safely, saving yourself and your property from harm.
2 - How to Put Out a Grease Fire on a Grill
There are several ways to put out a grease fire on a grill. However, your best bet depends on the size of the fire, the heat source, and the fuel source.
If a grease fire starts on your grill, here are the steps you should take:
- Remove the food from the grill
Start by removing the food from the grill to prevent it from catching fire.
- Safely turn off the heat source
When a grease fire occurs on your grill, the first thing you should do is turn off the heat source to stop the fuel source from feeding the flames. Here are some steps to safely turn off the heat source during a grease fire:
- Close the lid: Close the lid of your grill to prevent the flame from reaching you and - if you are using a charcoal grill - to cut off the fire's oxygen supply, which will help to extinguish the flames.
- Turn off the heat source: If you have a gas grill, turn off the propane tank or natural gas supply.
- Wait and observe: Do not open the lid of the grill immediately after turning off the heat source. Wait a few minutes to allow the flames to die down, and then carefully and slowly open the lid to assess the damage.
By following these simple steps, you can safely turn off the heat source during a grease fire on your grill and prevent unexpected events such as kitchen fires or even house fires.
- Do not use water!
You should never use water to put out a grease fire. Water will cause the hot oil to splatter and spread, making the fire worse. Instead, use baking soda or kosher salt.
- Use baking soda or kosher salt
When it comes to dealing with a grease fire, it's important to avoid using water as it can cause the hot oil to spread and make the fire worse. Instead, it's best to use baking soda or salt to put out the flames.
Baking soda is particularly effective as it produces carbon dioxide when heated, which suffocates the fire. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda directly onto the flames. Similarly, kosher salt can be used to smother the flames in the absence of baking soda. Remember, however, that baking soda and salt are best used for small grease fires only.
For larger fires or if the flames persist after using baking soda or salt, evacuate the area and call the local fire department for professional help. It's always better to prioritize safety and take preventative measures to minimize the risk of a fire, such as regularly cleaning the grill, monitoring the cooking process closely, and having a Class K fire extinguisher on hand in case of emergencies.
- Cover the flames with a metal lid.
If you have a charcoal grill, the first thing you can do to put out a small grease fire is to cover the grill grates with a metal lid. The lack of oxygen supply will smother the flames and eventually put out the fire. However, be careful when using this method because the metal lid will become extremely hot.
- Use a class B fire extinguisher.
If the fire is out of control or you don't have baking soda or salt, you should use a class B extinguisher. These extinguishers are specially designed to put out cooking oil and grease fires. Make sure you use the extinguisher from a safe distance and aim it at the base of the fire, not the flames.
How to Use a Class B Fire Extinguisher to Put Out a Grease Fire:
- Assess the situation. Before using a fire extinguisher, make sure you have a class B extinguisher, which is suitable for grease fires. Assess the size of the fire to determine if you can safely put it out with a fire extinguisher or if you need to evacuate and call for professional help.
- Position yourself: Stand at a safe distance, aiming the extinguisher at the base of the flames, not the top. Using an extinguisher from a safe distance will help to avoid injury and reduce the risk of the fire spreading.
- Pull the pin. Before using the extinguisher, pull the pin located at the top of the cylinder to unlock the mechanism.
- Aim at the fire: Point the nozzle at the base of the flames, holding the extinguisher with both hands.
- Squeeze the trigger: Squeeze the handle of the extinguisher to release the dry chemicals onto the fire.
- Sweep the fire: Use a sweeping motion to cover the fire with the dry chemicals. Move the nozzle back and forth until the fire is out.
- Repeat if necessary. If the fire is not out after the first use, repeat steps 3 to 6 until the fire is extinguished.
Remember, using a class B extinguisher is a good idea only if you can safely reach the fire, and the fire is small enough to handle with a fire extinguisher. If the fire is out of control or if you are unsure how to use a fire extinguisher, evacuate immediately and call your local fire department for professional help.
- Call for professional help
As a last resort, if the fire is out of control, evacuate the area immediately and call your local fire department for professional help.
3 - Safety Precautions to Take When Grilling
Preventing a grease fire from starting in the first place is always the best option. Here are some safety precautions to take when grilling:
- Keep your grill in good condition.
Grilling is a great way to enjoy delicious food with friends and family. But it's important to keep your BBQ grill in good condition to prevent unexpected events such as grease fires. Here are some simple steps to keep your grill in good condition and reduce the risk of a fire:
Clean your grill regularly. Cleaning your grill on a regular basis is essential to prevent the build-up of grease, which can start a grease fire. After each use, use a grill brush to remove food particles and debris from the cooking grids. Once a month, remove the cooking grids and clean them with soapy water and mild soap. Clean the inside of the grill with a soapy water solution as well.
Check the propane tank. If you have a propane grill, make sure to check the propane tank for leaks and make sure it's not damaged. If you suspect a leak, turn off the gas immediately and call a professional.
Use a grilling mat: To prevent flare-ups and grease fires, use a grilling mat or a cookie sheet to catch any excess grease and fat that may drip from your food. This will also make cleaning your grill easier.
Clean the firebox area. The firebox area of your grill should be cleaned regularly to remove excess ash and debris that can affect the performance of your grill. A dirty firebox can also increase the risk of a fire.
By following these simple steps, you can keep your BBQ grill in good condition and reduce the risk of a fire.
- Keep a close eye on your grill.
Always monitor your grill while cooking and keep a close eye on the cooking process. Do not leave your grill unattended, and do not leave your cooking area to go inside your house.
- Use a grease tray or a removable drip pan.
A grease tray or a removable drip pan will help to catch excess grease and prevent it from dripping onto the heat source. This will reduce the risk of a fire starting from the fat drippings.
- Use cooking oil with a high smoke point.
Using cooking oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil, will reduce the risk of oil fires. Oil fires occur when the oil reaches its smoke point, and the oil ignites.
- Keep your grill vents open.
Flare-ups can be dangerous and cause unexpected events such as grease fires on your grill. One way to prevent flare-ups is by adjusting the grill vents. Here are some steps to adjust the vents on your grill to prevent flare-ups:
Locate the vents: The vents are usually located on the bottom and top of the grill. The bottom vent controls the oxygen supply to the fire, while the top vent controls the temperature of the grill.
Adjust the bottom vent. Open the bottom vent to increase the oxygen supply to the fire, which will increase the heat of the grill. Close the bottom vent to reduce the heat of the grill and prevent flare-ups.
Adjust the top vent. Open the top vent to release excess heat and smoke from the grill, which will reduce the risk of a flare-up. Close the top vent to trap heat and smoke inside the grill, which will increase the temperature of the grill and increase the risk of a flare-up.
Keep an eye on your food. Flare-ups can occur when flame-producing food, such as fatty meats or oily vegetables, come into contact with an open flame. Keep an eye on your food and move it to a cooler part of the grill if flare-ups occur.
By adjusting the grill vents and following these simple steps, you can prevent flare-ups and reduce the risk of a fire on your grill.
- Keep a Class B Fire Extinguisher
A class B fire extinguisher is an essential tool to have near your grill in case of a grease fire. Here are some steps to help you buy and store a class B fire extinguisher in an accessible place:
Buy a class B fire extinguisher. Look for a class B fire extinguisher that is suitable for grease fires. You can find them at most home improvement or hardware stores. Make sure it's rated for kitchen fires and has a class K rating. This is specifically designed to put out grill grease fires.
Check the expiration date. When purchasing a fire extinguisher, check the expiration date to ensure it's still in good condition. A fire extinguisher that is past its expiration date may not work correctly when you need it.
Store it in an accessible place. Store the fire extinguisher in a location that is easily accessible in case of an emergency. It should be near the grill but not too close to the heat source, and it should be visible and reachable for everyone who uses the grill. Make sure it's not obstructed by any objects.
Learn how to use it. Before you need to use the fire extinguisher, make sure you know how to use it properly. Read the instructions carefully and practice using it. Make sure everyone who uses the grill knows the location of the extinguisher and how to use it.
Maintain the fire extinguisher. Check the pressure gauge on the fire extinguisher regularly to make sure it's still charged and ready to use. If the pressure is low, replace the extinguisher or have it recharged.
By following these simple steps, you can buy and store a class B fire extinguisher in an accessible place to help prevent and put out grease fires on your grill.
Putting out a grease fire on a grill requires quick thinking and the right tools. By following the simple steps we have outlined, you can prevent and put out a dangerous grease fire on your grill. Always remember to keep a close eye on your grill and the cooking process. Clean your grill regularly with soapy water and mild soap, use a cookie sheet to catch excess grease, and adjust the grill vents to prevent flare-ups. It's also a good idea to have a class K extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency. Stay safe and enjoy your grilling experience on a regular basis. But always be aware of the risks associated with open flames, high temperatures, and the amount of fat or grease used in cooking. With a little preparation and attention, you can prevent unexpected events such as kitchen fires or even house fires, and enjoy delicious grilled food with your friends and family for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
You should never use water to put out a grease fire. Water will cause the hot oil to splatter and spread, making the fire worse. Also, never use a grill brush, paper towels, or kitchen towels to try to put out a grease fire. These items can easily catch fire and make the situation worse. Instead, use baking soda, kosher salt, or a class B fire extinguisher to put out a grease fire.
A grease fire is classified as a class B fire. This type of fire involves flammable liquids such as oil, gasoline, and grease. If a grease fire is not handled properly, it can quickly spread and cause significant damage to property and severe burns. Therefore, it's essential to know the proper way to put out a grease fire and take safety precautions to prevent them from happening in the first place.